JONESBORO (AStateRedWolves.com) – The Arkansas State football team took a break from its daily routine Wednesday to hold an unexpected swimming trip for the players that was described by head coach Bryan Harsin as both rewarding and also a chance to recuperate from the physical and mental stress that accompanies fall camp.
"We've pushed really hard early in camp with 6 a.m. wake-ups for the players and their days lasting until 10:30 at night up to this point," said Harsin. "They've been in meetings, practices, two-a-days, one-a-days, workouts and walk-throughs, so this was more of a reward for the hard work they've put in. It gives the guys a chance to relax, sit back and let their bodies rest because we've got to come back strong these next practices, go hard through the scrimmage and then start getting into game-planning mode. Camp can be more mental than physical for a lot of guys as well, so this is a good release for them to just get out there and have a little fun."
Various surprise trips for players during fall camp are common across the nation, with programs taking a short break from practices to give players the opportunity to bond outside of football. Following morning meetings, the coaching staff alerted players to the plan and the team went to the Health, Physical Education and Sports Sciences' (HPESS) pool on the Arkansas State University campus.
"The pool is always fun because it's easy since it's on campus," Harsin continued. "It's just a release opportunity because you've been putting in a lot of time. These players are good young men, and this is a productive team activity that provides a way for them to have some fun while giving them an opportunity to experience things outside of football."
The Red Wolves reported for fall camp Aug. 1 and held their first practice Aug. 2. With 15 practices completed, Harsin feels the team has made good strides but still has more progress to make.
"I feel like we've pushed through some really tough phases of camp," said Harsin. "We're not where we want to be yet as far as the details and execution of what we want to do. I think our effort, for the most part, has been there, but we haven't honed in on everything we're trying to get dialed in on. There's a lot of coaching that still has to be done and a lot of things that have to get improved over the next 14 practices we have left."